Shane Patrick Lysaght MacGowan was an Irish musician best known as the lead vocalist and songwriter of Celtic punk band the Pogues. MacGowan's songs were influenced by Irish history, Irish nationalism, the Irish diaspora, and London life.
Born in Kent, England, to Irish parents, MacGowan joined the punk band the Nipple Erectors before founding the Pogues in 1982. He drew upon his Irish heritage when founding the Pogues and changed his early punk style to a more traditional sound, with tutoring from his extended family. Between 1985 and 1987, he co-wrote the Christmas hit single "Fairytale of New York", which he performed with Kirsty MacColl. Other notable songs he performed with the Pogues include "Dirty Old Town", "Sally MacLennane" and "The Irish Rover" (featuring the Dubliners). The 1988 release of the Pogues' most critically acclaimed album, If I Should Fall from Grace with God, marked the high point of the band's commercial success.
During a 1991 tour, the Pogues fired MacGowan for unprofessional behaviour. He subsequently formed a new band, Shane MacGowan and The Popes, with which he recorded two studio albums. In 2001, MacGowan rejoined the Pogues for reunion shows, remaining with the group until 2014. He also produced solo material and collaborated with artists such as Joe Strummer, Nick Cave, Steve Earle, Sinéad O'Connor, and Ronnie Drew. MacGowan received a 2018 Ivor Novello Inspiration Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award.